MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that interact with mRNAs and trigger either translation repression or RNA cleavage of target genes. In this study, we investigated whether miRNA was involved in down-regulation of the luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) in rat ovaries. An miRNA microarray was used to analyze the overall miRNA expression profile of rat ovaries in association with the down-regulation of LHR mRNA. We found that 23 miRNAs were highly expressed during this period. Combining these results with data from a bioinformatics database, clustering analysis led us to focus on miR-136-3p for further analysis. In both in vivo and in vitro studies, miR-136-3p expression levels were increased at 6 h after human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) administration, concurrent with down-regulation of LHR mRNA. Moreover, transfection of cultured granulosa cells with miR-136-3p resulted in a significant decrease in LHR mRNA levels in comparison with those of cells transfected with negative control. In contrast, transfection with a miR-136-3p inhibitor increased LHR mRNA levels. Finally, cotransfection of granulosa cells with a miR-136-3p inhibitor and a reporter vector containing the 3′-untranslated region (UTR) of LHR mRNA and Renilla luciferase coding sequence revealed that miR-136-3p bound directly to the 3′-UTR of LHR mRNA. These data demonstrated that miR-136-3p participated in the down-regulation of LHR mRNA by binding directly to LHR mRNA.
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Vol. 89 • No. 5